In the News

Professor Gregory Germain Provides Tips for First-Time Credit Cards and Online Personal Loans at Moneygeek

At Moneygeek, Professor Gregory Germain provides tips and answers questions about getting a first credit card and securing a personal loan from an online-only bank.

In the credit card article, he notes that “getting a credit card as a young person can be especially difficult. The Federal “CARD” Act of 2009 prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from obtaining a credit card without either a responsible co-signor (normally a parent) who guarantees payment or the “submission of an application, indicating independent means of repaying any obligation arising from the proposed extension of credit.” See CARD Act amendments to 15 U.S.C. § 1637(8). So, if you’re under 21 without a full-time job, you will probably need a co-signor parent to obtain a credit card.”

His advice for assessing the credibility of online-only lenders includes “you need to be sure you are giving your personal information to a genuine lender and not a scam artist when you are applying for a loan. There are lots of scam artists out there trying to get your personal information so that they can steal money from your bank accounts or your identity. So, you need to verify that the person you are dealing with is really the lender before giving them any of your personal information.”

University Professor David Driesen Provides Insight into the Appeal of a Montana State District Judge’s Decision on Climate Change

Last year, a Montana state District Judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs who said the state was violating residents’ constitutional right to a clean environment by allowing oil, gas and coal projects without regard for global warming.

An appeal hearing was recently held by the Montana Supreme Court. University Professor David Driesen discussed the appeal with the Associated Press and its potential impact on similar states that have state constitutional protection for the environment.

“The bottom line is whatever the state Supreme Court decides, it’s more likely to have an influence” than last year’s lower court ruling, said Driesen, an expert on environmental law. “Other states that have those provisions will consider it. They don’t have to follow it.”

The case is Held v. Montana.

Professor Gregory Germain Discusses the Dismissal of the Trump Classified Documents Case

Professor Gregory Germain spoke with Law 360 on U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s dismissal of the classified documents case due to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland not having the authority under the appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution to appoint an independent prosecutor.

Germain noted that the recent Presidential immunity and Chevron decisions laid the groundwork for Judge Cannon’s decision.

“We’ve now had not only the immunity case but also the overruling of the Chevron doctrine,” Germain said. “This court is very concerned about separation of powers issues and about the executive branch usurping the power of Congress. That’s why I think they might say that there’s no statutory authority.”

Germain notes that it is possible to simply appoint an already confirmed U.S. attorney as a special prosecutor for the case.

“Dismissal is such an extraordinary remedy when the defendant really hasn’t been harmed by who is prosecuting the case,” Germain said. “I think the remedy is just clearly wrong.”

Professor Katherine Macfarlane Discusses the Post-Chevron Tennessee Walking Horse Case

Professor Katherine Macfarlane provided insight into one of the first legal challenges brought after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Loper Bright overturned the Chevron deference to government agencies. She spoke with Bloomberg Law for the story “Tennessee Horse Show Picks Texas to Challenge Rule Post Chevron”.

Three days after the Loper Bright decision, The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Association filed a lawsuit with two show horse owners challenging an Agriculture Department regulation that aims to crack down on horse soring. The case was filed in Amarillo, TX before U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk who often rules against Biden administration policies.

Macfarlane said she isn’t convinced the challengers in this case specifically tried to shop for a preferred judge or timed their filing to follow the Chevron decision. Either way, the civil procedure expert said any plaintiff in the U.S. who wants to challenge an agency action now has a better argument because courts no longer have to defer to the agency.

“If I had a case that presented the ability to undo agency action in a way that aligned with predictable Kacsmaryk political fault lines, it’s a good time to file in front of Judge Kacsmaryk,” she said.

The article may be behind a paywall.

Professor Emerita Arlene Kanter Provides Insight into the Debate Between Classroom Accessibility and Academic Freedom

Professor Emerita Arlene Kanter, founding director of the Disability Law and Policy Program, provided her reaction to the Inside Higher Ed story “Giving an F for Recording Classes, Even for Students With Disabilities”.

The article looks at a UCLA professor whose classroom hosts contentious debates and says she’ll fail any student who records classes or distributes another student’s work as a matter of academic freedom. Kanter discusses the legalities surrounding classroom accommodations.

Kanter said UCLA’s signing off on what she called a “blanket ban” on a disability accommodation is problematic. “No [blanket] ban is ever permissible, and there are many, many court cases that have held so,” she said.

“I’m surprised that UCLA would go that route and uphold the ban because there’s literally no court authority that would be on their side,” Kanter said. “The recording allows a student with a disability to be on equal footing and participating in that class with students without disabilities. To deny that opportunity is discrimination, pure and simple.”

Professor Katherine Macfarlane on Mask Ban Laws: “It Sends a Bit of [an] Authoritarian Chill Down My Spine”

Professor Katherine Macfarlane, director of the Disability Law and Policy Program, discussed the growing trend of states and cities enacting mask bans with NBC News.

In the article “Mask bans are growing in popularity. Critics call the trend a ‘dog whistle’ to quell protest”,

Macfarlane, who has a disability and considers herself high risk, questions how a mask ban takes into account the safety of people like her with health vulnerabilities. She also doubts that increasing “high-stress” interactions with the police will yield positive results and feels it’s unfair to put the burden on immunocompromised people to share health concerns that are not visible to the naked eye.

“That doesn’t lend itself well to a safe interaction,” she said. “It makes me really nervous about the right to protest, the right to attend a political rally.”

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks on SCOTUS Jan. 6 Obstruction Decision: “Will Likely Only Impact a Small Number of Convicted Rioters”

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks spoke with Independent on the SCOTUS ruling that narrowed the definition of obstruction in January 6 riot cases.

“The decision will not have tremendous significance in the January 6 cases, including that of former president Trump, because in almost all cases there are other charges that have a felony status alongside the obstruction charge,” says Banks.

He continued “The basic question before the court was the meaning of a straightforward statute banning obstruction of an official proceeding. Sixteen of 17 federal judges had construed the statute to reach the kind of obstruction at issue in most of the January 6 cases. Today, the Supreme Court majority read the statute differently and said that the obstruction statute applied only to documents. Their reading of the statute is contrary to plain meaning of the law.”

Professor Lauryn Gouldin Discusses the Hunter Biden Ruling and Rahimi SCOTUS Ruling with the Washington Examiner and Law 360

Professor Lauryn Gouldin recently spoke with the Washington Examiner concerning the recent Supreme Court of the U.S. ruling in United States v. Rahimi and its potential impact on an appeal in the Hunter Biden Federal gun case.

Gouldin said the Supreme Court repeatedly noted that Rahimi had notice and process for being subject to a domestic violence protective order, whereas Biden did not.

“You don’t have any of that notice or process that attaches for Biden’s case. That is a lot of what his defense team was challenging before the trial and at the trial.”

Gouldin also spoke with Law 360 on the cases (may be behind paywall.) Here, she says a review of the drug addiction cases will also require a “completely different” historical analysis given that opium and other drugs were not illegal when the Second Amendment was enacted.

Distinguished Visiting Lecturer David Cay Johnston Interviewed by Salon on Donald Trump

Distinguished Visiting Lecturer David Cay Johnston was recently interviewed by Salon about the verdict in the Donald Trump business fraud case, his sentencing, and the upcoming election, among other related topics.

Regarding sentencing, Johnston says:

“Donald Trump can bring his lawyers and they can certainly try to moderate what he says in the pre-sentencing interview. But the pre-sentencing report prepared by a probation officer will likely not contain anything new in terms of who Donald is or anything the judge doesn’t know. What it will provide the probation officers with is opportunity to judge whether he can even fake contrition, and that’s where Trump has an irresolvable problem. Roy Cohn taught him that if law enforcement comes after you then you attack them. They are corrupt. They are dishonest. You are as pure as the fresh fallen snow. Never, ever give an inch. You are perfect. Well, that’s not going to work with the probation officer and Judge Merchan. But that approach will work with Trump cult followers and too many other members of the public.

I think the meeting with the pre-sentencing probation officer is an opportunity for Trump to manipulate, but it’s also a high risk that he will just dig himself further. At the sentencing hearing, if the judge calls on Trump to speak, I think there’ll be a real crisis for him. He will know that he can’t apologize. Trump cannot say “I was wrong.” All he can do is attack the judge, and that’s an invitation to a longer sentence. That’s how the system is supposed to work. If you refuse to acknowledge and take responsibility for wrongdoing, you’re sure to get a longer tougher sentence than somebody who says, “Yeah, I screwed up, and I recognize that now.”

I will be surprised if Judge Merchan does not give Trump some time behind bars. That could be the absolute minimum of 30 days. More likely, it may be much longer up to the four-year maximum.”

Professor Roy Gutterman L’00 Discusses the First Amendment Rights of College Students on the ABA Law Student Podcast

A recent American Bar Association (ABA) Law Student Podcast featured Professor Roy Gutterman L’00 discussing the First Amendment rights of college students. Gutterman was interviewed by Professor Todd Berger, the podcast host, along with current student hosts Leah Haberman and Chay Rodrigues.

Gutterman, the director of Syracuse University Newhouse School’s Tully Center for Free Speech, discussed the history of free speech law, different aspects of free speech, and what law students should know about current campus events as interpreted through the existing legal frameworks.